Doug Jones — aka the Faun and the Pale Man (scrawny Shar-Pei-thing with hand-eyeballs and evil grapes) in Pan’s Labyrinth, Abe Sapien in Hellboy, other strange things in just about each other Guillermo Del Toro project, and Bette Midler’s zombie ex-boyfriend in Hocus Pocus — lately did an interview with Collider, and spoke about his role in an upcoming del Toro film. Given that the information of said movie, titled The Shape of Water, have largely been kept secret, the interview revealed a excellent deal much more than was previously identified of the project.
What was previously recognized is quite considerably what’s there on the IMDB page: beyond Jones, its cast includes Sally Hawkins (quite good commence), Michael Shannon (the good continues), Octavia Spencer (yup, great), Richard Jenkins (also great), and A Critical Man‘s Michael Stuhlbarg (so that’s 6/6 for a cast of fantastic character actors), and it’s “an other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963.” In his interview, although, Jones makes it clear that one particular of the the factors that earns the “other-worldly” description is that he’s not specifically playing a man (as usual), but rather a fish man:
I’m a fish man that is kind of a one particular-off. I’m an enigma, nobody knows exactly where I came from I’m the last of my species so I’m like a all-natural anomaly. And I’m getting studied and tested in a U.S. government facility in 1963, so the Russian Cold War is on, the race for space is on, so there’s all that backdrop and that undercurrent.
He notes that mentioned fish-man — like so several mutant movie humans prior to him — is currently undergoing government tests for use in the military (or, significantly less frequently, for space travel). The government is attempting to hold the piscine technology a secret from Russia. Sally Hawkins, he explains, plays a cleaning lady who gets entangled in a really like narrative with the fish-man. Jones says, “She comes and finds me, has sympathy on me, and then that is the story that you’re actually gonna adhere to with this entire backdrop.”
Collider notes that the fish-man theme had currently been rumored, but people had assumed that Shannon would be playing that starring function — so we’ll have to see what sort of creature (or, sure, anything’s feasible — human) del Toro has up his sleeve for the actor. For those who’ve been waiting for a return to the historically-interested fantasy/horror noticed in Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone, this statement from Jones ought to further pique your interest: “It is artfully and beautifully [produced]—if this does not end up with Guillermo back at the Oscars, I will be surprised. I will be very surprised.”
Jones as Abe Sapien in ‘Hellboy’
Uproxx notes the similarities amongst The Shape of Water character and Hellboy‘s Abe Sapien, who was also played by Doug Jones (though he was voiced by David Hyde Pierce), and was likewise a fish-man stuck in a government facility. Even so, even on the off-chance that The Shape of Water actually sees Jones reprising that role, it seems like, no matter what it is, this won’t be anything resembling a classic superhero movie: “It’s not a sci-fi [film], it is not a genre film, but I am a creature in it,” he said.
Here’s some fishy promotional art: